The Italian Connection 1 by Alex A. Akira
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A free review copy was furnished by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Phillipe Michael Ponty is a half-Japanese, half-French man who is running from a tragic past. Settling in Connecticut, he lives out his life in disguise, trying to hide the fact that he is a thief working for the front dance company Tanaka Dance. However, he soon gets involved with Tommy Sear and his band, who are about to be signed to the record label Romano Studios. Julian Romano recognizes Philip from a break-in at his home in Italy and pursues the young man who captured his attention the night of the burglary.
I’m a huge fan of Japanese yaoi so when this yaoi-flavored novel dropped into my inbox, I was eager to read and review it. However, while The Italian Connection 1 is a fun read, there are a few things that hold it back.
Firstly, errors. I noticed at least twenty typos/missing words in my read-through, too many for a novel that claims to have seen an editor. While they’re not in and of themselves a deal-breaker, they did pull me out of the novel on several occasions. Add to this a few very awkward sentences and you get a book that could use one more edit and polish before it’s ready for primetime.
Secondly, the romance feels rushed. Julian wants the thief in his house before he even sees his face (or that he’s a man), which just seemed off. Who gets sexually aroused by somebody who’s robbing them? When Julian and Philip finally get together, Julian is ridiculously fast at confessing love to a man he barely even knows.
Those points aside, The Italian Connection 1 is a pretty fun read, as long as you can appreciate the over-the top nature of the beast. All of the yaoi tropes are in play here, yet they’re fun to watch unfold, and despite the cliched nature of the protagonist having a tragic past, I felt moved by it regardless. Probably my favorite part of this novel was the rock band plot with Philip singing for Tommy Sear, which somewhat reminded me of anime favorite Gravitation. Sear’s unrequited love for Philip also adds some nice conflict to the story which no doubt will come into play in part two.
Extra care has been taken to produce the e-book itself, with each chapter having a nice header. The cover itself is also very pretty and eye-catching.
The Italian Connection 1 is recommended if you like Japanese yaoi and/or appreciate a fast-paced, unbelievable-but-fun kind of story. Those looking for realism and accuracy in their storytelling should look elsewhere.